In The News

Healthy, Diverse Soil Invertebrate Communities Mitigate Impacts Of Climate Change

You don’t have to look far to find one of the Earth’s biggest contributors of atmospheric carbon — just scoop up a handful of dirt. Microbes living in the soil release 10 times more carbon into the atmosphere than humans worldwide. This doesn’t let humans off the hook, however, as anthropogenic activity can drastically impact the rate of this emission. New research from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies reveals that healthy and diverse soil communities can mitigate the feedback effect that occurs between climate change and soil respiration. A paper detailing the findings was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .

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Satellites Track California's Dwindling Groundwater

According to an article in Wired , satellite monitoring has recently been used to show California’s groundwater levels by analyzing the sinking of California land, which is directly related to groundwater depletion. Data on California’s groundwater are being analyzed by NASA researchers, who are creating maps of California land sinkage. The satellite data are being gathered using a technique called interferometric synthetic aperture radar, which measures changes in ground deformation. Although the technique was used in the past to monitor terrain changes due to earthquakes and volcanoes, using InSAR to monitor groundwater depletion is relatively new. Other techniques to monitor groundwater depletion, while useful, come with drawbacks not inherent in satellite monitoring.

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Unknown Climate Change Impacts Remain For U.S. Midwest Growing Season

Many climate change models incorporate surface air temperature and precipitation data, but inclusion of soil moisture is not typical, even though soil moisture is a key indicator of the water cycle. In an attempt to correct this exclusion, researchers at Dartmouth College used climate change models including soil moisture to predict whether the U.S. Midwest will become wetter or drier in the summer growing season due to climate change. Their results appear to be inconclusive, according to a press release from Dartmouth College . Although their models unanimously predicted rises in Midwest summer temperatures, results relating to drier or wetter summers varied depending on which global climate model was used to inform the regional climate model.

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